TOMORROW 9am: Exclusive Ward 2 Hour at Nt’l Bldg. Museum’s The Beach!

The beach
TOMORROW, July 28, from 9:00-10:00am is Ward 2 Hour at The Beach!

The National Building Museum invites the Wards of Washington, D.C. to its popular Summer Block Party. This summer, the Museum is partnering with Snarkitecture, a Brooklyn-based design firm, to bring the beach indoors—no sunscreen required. As part of the D.C. community, the Museum invites members of each Ward to visit the Museum and BEACH with free admission during your Ward Day.

401 F STREET,NW  | 202-272-2448  |  www.nbm.org

Ready to Visit for Ward 2 Day? Here’s what you need to know:

  • The BEACH will open early for each exclusive Ward Day hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; admission for Ward residents is free until 11 a.m.
  • All visitors must use the F St. doors between 5th St. and 6th St. The Museum is metro accessible via the Red line (Judiciary Square) and the Green/Yellow line (Gallery Place-Chinatown). Please note that all visitors may be subject to a bag check upon arrival.
  • Your Ward Day is determined by your zip code, please bring a valid form of I.D. to present to the admissions desk to confirm your zip code.
  • The general public will be admitted into the Museum at 10 a.m.
  • All visitors must check in at the Museum’s admissions desk to receive their complimentary entrance and admissions wristband to the BEACH and Museum exhibitions.
  • Light refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase at Firehook Bakery on the Museum’s first floor starting at 9a.m. and at Union Kitchen inside the BEACH beginning at 10 a.m.

What is The Beach?

An interactive 10,000 square foot installation in the Museum’s Great Hall, designed with an “ocean” filled with nearly 1 million translucent plastic balls and a shoreline spotted with beach chairs and tables.

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FOIA Lawsuit Against D.C. Over ANC 2F Actions

Today I issued the following press release:


 

Contact: Matt Raymond, 202-744-1921, matt@mattraymond.com

Frivolous Lawsuit Against D.C., Logan Circle’s ANC a Product of Misguided Crusade Against Immigrant Small Businessman

 Please note: Any opinions expressed below are those of Chairman Raymond only, except insofar as formal positions and votes of ANC 2F are recounted.

(Washington, D.C.)—A lawsuit filed yesterday in Superior Court (James Kane v. DC, 14-3386 [422992]) against the District of Columbia regarding actions of Logan Circle’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F is rife with demonstrable falsehoods and could have far-reaching negative impacts on the ANC and an upstanding local businessman.

The complaint (http://wp.me/a22M8Q-x4) centers on the ANC’s efforts to comply with a Freedom of Information request filed by James Kane, now the plaintiff, who sought communications about the ANC’s dealings regarding Logan Circle’s Ghana Café between April 1, 2013, and April 23, 2014.  An initial search revealed at least 500 emails plus several other documents directly related to Ghana Café.

However, the FOIA request went far beyond the one business, asking for every communication over a period of more than one year related to broad terms such as the city’s ABRA liquor license enforcement agency, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, such commonly used terms in liquor license matters as “settlement agreement” or “voluntary agreement,” and even the exceptionally broad term “resolution.”

When ANC 2F Chairman Matt Raymond began the broader search, he found that there were literally thousands of potentially responsive documents (the bulk of which being emails). He communicated this fact to Kane’s attorney and suggested narrowing the search to Ghana Café, citing the unreasonable amount of time the search and document production would entail, plus the fact that ANC commissioners are volunteer, unpaid officials, most of whom have day jobs. D.C. law requires only eight hours of personnel time related to document reformatting, which would be exceeded by an order of magnitude in accounting for thousands of documents.

ABRA and the ABC Board are the D.C. agencies that constitute the lion’s share of ANC activities, and Ghana Café is but one of numerous liquor licensees the ANC dealt with in 2013 when residential development and dining establishments boomed in Logan Circle. ANC 2F has a total annual budget of $18,770 and is able to employ only part-time staff to assist with routine matters such as preparing agendas and taking minutes.

Neither Kane nor his attorney responded to Raymond’s good-faith offer to comply, instead taking the matter directly to court.

“To call this a fishing expedition would be an understatement,” Raymond said. “It’s more akin to Captain Ahab’s brash pursuit of Moby Dick. The extreme nature of the FOIA request and this lawsuit speak to the plaintiff’s intemperate efforts to bring harm to Ghana Café, as well as to greatly hinder the ability of ANC 2F to represent the needs of Logan Circle residents.”

One year ago, Ghana Café owner Tony Opare, a Ghanaian immigrant, approached the ANC in hopes of easing restrictions on his liquor license that put him at a competitive disadvantage with nearby businesses. The ANC reached out to Kane and surrounding neighbors who along with ANC 2F were also a party to Ghana Café’s settlement agreement, which places additional conditions on a licensee than normal regulations. When Opare’s application for live music on weekends was denied by the ABC Board, giving neighbors little incentive to continue negotiations, they became nonresponsive to the ANC.

In March 2014, frustrated by the bad-faith negotiations and sympathetic to Opare’s plight, the ANC voted to withdraw from the existing settlement agreement and enter into a new one with Ghana Café, placing it on more equal footing with competitors.

Neighbors had valid concerns about a number of health violations, but Opare rectified them quickly and then had a record on par with other establishments in the neighborhood. The neighbors also alleged numerous violations of Ghana Café’s license and settlement agreement. However, ABRA notes only a single minor infraction in Ghana Café’s history, related to paperwork.

The ANC in recent years has been responsive to the concerns of Kane and his neighbors—e.g., successfully opposing a 2011 Ghana Café application for outdoor seating. In addition, the ANC voted last year to oppose live music before later switching course and voting this year to ease restrictions after deeming the continued opposition to Opare unreasonable.

“Mr. Opare has been held hostage for a year by a small group of surrounding residents, to the detriment of his business and patrons,” Raymond said. “The vehemence with which they have pursued their crusade is disproportionate, if not discriminatory, compared to their dealings with similarly situated restaurants. Ghana Café is not the bad actor those few neighbors would have us believe.

“A likely outcome of their intransigence would be to force the closure of a business owned by a man who was living the American Dream.”

Kane’s lawsuit makes several demonstrably false claims about ANC 2F’s handling of the FOIA request:

 Allegation: “On information and belief, as of May 29, 2014, ANC 2F did not submit a request to [the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, or OCTO] to search ANC 2F’s government-hosted email accounts for emails responsive to Mr. Kane’s FOIA request.”

 Fact: At the request of ANC 2F, D.C.’s Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions made a formal request on May 27 that OCTO do a search of government-hosted emails, which was listed as “in progress” when the lawsuit was filed—a fact the plaintiff could have found out with a simple call or email to ANC 2F.

Allegation: “On information and belief, as of May 29, 2014, none of the non-government hosted email accounts used by ANC 2F Commissioners was searched for emails responsive to Mr. Kane’s FOIA request.”

 Fact: As previously mentioned, all emails and documents potentially responsive to the Ghana Café issue were searched and segregated, numbering more than 500. Raymond also commenced a good-faith search of the other overly broad terms in the FOIA request. While an exact number was not determined, it without question would have been in the thousands, constituting an undue and unlawful burden on the ANC. Again, this is a fact the plaintiff could have found out with a simple call or email to ANC 2F.

 Ironically, the plaintiff’s filing, in quoting Raymond’s emails, contradicts its own claim.

 Allegation: “On information and belief, as of May 29, 2014, ANC 2F did not search for nonemail documents that are responsive to Mr. Kane’s FOIA request.”

 Fact:  Reviews conducted by ANC 2F included non-email documents, all of which were being segregated and held as potentially responsive—another fact the plaintiff could have found out with a simple call or email to ANC 2F.

 The complaint’s contention in “Count One” that the District therefore violated the FOIA law for its supposed failures to search is also false.

The filing further complains that ANC 2F failed to produce a “Vaughn index,” which essentially is a detailed, item-by-item spreadsheet listing all potentially responsive communications and determinations whether each could be considered privileged under the law and court precedent. Producing such an index for the request as submitted would have required untold hours of work by a small army of administrative personnel, easily exhausting ANC 2F’s $18,770 budget.

If the plaintiff’s hope was that the ANC would choose the path of least resistance and turn over, wholesale, thousands of documents without proper review and due diligence regarding potentially privileged information, such as that which would result in invasions of privacy or damage a business’s competitive position, it then would have exposed the District to additional liability for the illegal release of such information. In addition, “capricious and arbitrary” responses to FOIA requests potentially expose government officials to criminal liability.

While the law permits the filing of FOIA-related lawsuits, it also offers an administrative appeals process via the Office of the Mayor, which would have lasted no more than 10 days. If an appellant disagreed with the outcome, he still would have the option to file a civil claim. In bypassing a speedy appeal, the plaintiff could drag out the matter until at least Sept. 12, the date the court set for an initial conference regarding the lawsuit.

“If Mr. Kane and his attorney were truly interested in the information they are seeking, they would have pursued the expedited administrative appeals process rather than delaying the matter for months and incurring substantial attorney’s fees, for which D.C. taxpayers would be on the hook if the District lost in court,” Raymond said.

“Moreover, simple and cordial discussions might have resolved the situation instead of tying up the courts.

“Logan Circle residents and all D.C. citizens should be outraged at this treatment of a well-meaning small businessmen, this flagrant abuse of the legal process, and the potential damage inflicted on hard-working, volunteer representatives attempting to do the work of the people.”

 # # #

 ANC 2F represents part or all of several D.C. neighborhoods including Logan Circle, Thomas Circle, Old City, Blagden Alley/Naylor Court, Franklin Square, and parts of Shaw and Downtown. ANC 2F comprises eight Single Member Districts and therefore has eight commissioners. Its website is located at http://anc2f.org/.

 

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ANC 2F Meeting Agenda for November 6, 2013

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 2F

REGULAR MONTHLY PUBLIC MEETING

Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 7:00 PM

Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle, NW)

AGENDA

 

Call to order at 7:00 p.m.

COMMUNITY FORUM 

  • Commissioner Announcements
  • Report from Executive Office of the Mayor
  • Report from Office of Jack Evans, City Councilmember, Ward 2
  • Report from Metropolitan Police Department, Third District, PSA 307
  • Self-presentation of La Colombine coffee bar (Blagden Alley)
  • Presentation from DDOT on reconstruction of pedestrian ramps along K St, NW between 12th and 21st Streets, NW (Lee Wilson)
  • Presentation from Office of Planning on Franklin Park (Thor Nelson)
  • Presentation of team proposals for redevelopment of historic Franklin School:
    • Abdo Development and CoStar Group
    • Bundy Development Corporation, Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group and the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs
    • Douglas Development
    • EastBanc, Inc., Institute for Contemporary Expression (ICE-DC) and the ThinkFoodGroup
  • Presentation by DC Board of Elections on the Precinct Boundary Efficiency Plan
  • Community Announcements

– Five minute recess – 

BUSINESS MEETING

  • Approval of Agenda
  • Approval of Minutes for July 10, 2013 Regular Monthly Public Meeting
  • Approval of Minutes for October 3, 2013 Regular Monthly Public Meeting

Committee Reports

ABRA (John Fanning, Chair)

  • 1209 – 1213 10th Street, NW / Blagden Alley (The American), Settlement Agreement
  • 920 14th St, NW (Park Place), petition to terminate current Settlement Agreement; APC voted (4-1-1) not to terminate SA
  • License Renewals:
    • 1435 P St, NW (Number Nine) – APC voted (6-0) to support license renewal
    • 1610 14th St, NW (Ghibellina) – APC voted (6-0) to support license renewal
    • 1415 P St, NW (Vegas Lounge) – APC voted (6-0) to support license renewal
    • 1301 K St, NW (Capitale) – APC voted (6-0) to support license renewal
    • 1318 9th St, NW (Vita, formerly Mood Lounge) – APC voted (6-0) to protest license renewal

Community Development Committee (Walt Cain, Chair)

  • 1101 Rhode Island Ave, NW (CAS/Riegler), recommendation of support for BZA request for variances
  • Discussion of Visitor Parking Program for ANC 2F
  • Removal of WMATA bus stop on west side of 14th St, NW (south of Rhode Island Ave, NW), recommendation of support

Crime and Public Safety Committee (Chris Linn, Chair)

  • Consideration of Community Impact Statements for:
    • 2012 CF2 007826: District of Columbia Vs. BAILEY, CARLITO and 2012 CF2 007828: District of Columbia Vs. WATKINS, RICKY C
    • 2013 CF2 011010: District of Columbia Vs. COLE, GREGORY A

Education Committee (Matt Connolly and Evelyn Boyd Simmons, Co-Chairs)

  • Update 

Old Business

[none]

New Business

  • Recommendation for Franklin School redevelopment proposal

Treasurer’s Report

  • Approval of Expenditures
  • Update

 

NOTICE: This agenda provided by ANC 2F in advance of its public meetings contains matters that are expected to come before the Committee.  It is, however, subject to formal adoption by the Committee at the meeting, which may result in additions or deletions to the draft. Individuals who may have official business before the Committee or persons with interests in specific matters are advised to contact the Executive Director or a Commissioner in advance of the meeting. See www.ANC2F.org for contact information.

 

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Historic Franklin School Redevelopment Presentations

franklinschool

In July of this year, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) selected four teams to develop proposals for the redevelopment of the historic Franklin School (facing the east side of Franklin Square). On Wednesday, October 30, 2013 from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Thomson Elementary School Auditorium (1200 L Street, NW), the four teams (Abdo Development, Douglas Development, ICE-DC, and Lowe Enterprises) will present their development visions of the site to the community.

This is a public meeting. All interested community members are invited to attend. For more information, visit DMPED’s web site.

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Visitor Parking Pass Program for ANC 2F?

VisitorParking

At ANC 2F’s October meeting, Councilman Jack Evans said that if the ANC passed a recommendation for a visitor parking pass in ANC 2F, he would ensure that it is implemented. The plan currently in place for Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, and parts of 6 provides for one pass per household. These passes are designed to allow guests of District residents to park for more than two hours on residential parking zoned streets. The passes are only valid during the hours of residential parking enforcement and in the same zone and ANC boundary as the residence where the pass was issued.

ANC 2F wants to know if there is interest in having a visitor parking program within the ANC and we want to hear from you! Please contact your local ANC commissioner (see list below) and plan to join us at the October Community Development meeting on Wednesday, October 23 at 7:00pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel.

SMD Name Phone Email
2F01 Peter Lallas (202) 821-3160  peterlallas@gmail.com
2F02 Walt Cain (601) 941-9869  waltcain@gmail.com
2F03 Chris Linn (202) 669-6771  chris@chrislinn.org
2F04 John Fanning (202) 510-1983  johnjfanning2@yahoo.com
2F05 Jim Lamare (202) 292-1974  jwlamare@gmail.com
2F06 Greg Melcher (202) 713-0457  melcherg@aol.com
2F07 Matt Raymond (202) 744-1921  matt@mattraymond.com
2F08 Matt Connolly (202) 347-3590  connolly.matthew@gmail.com

Find your commissioner here

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ANC 2F APC Meeting Agenda for October 23, 2013

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 2F
ALCOHOL POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING AGENDA
Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 7:00 PM
The Residences at Thomas Circle (Meeting Room)*
1330 Massachusetts Ave, NW
*Please note this meeting is taking place at the Residences at Thomas Circle, NOT at the Washington Plaza hotel.

  • Meeting Agenda
  • Approval of Agenda
REQUEST TO TERMINATE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
  • 920 14th St, NW (The Park)
LICENSE RENEWALS

  • 1435 P St, NW (Number Nine)
  • 1610 14th St, NW (Ghibellina)
  • 1415 P St, NW (Vegas Lounge)
  • 1318 19th St, NW (Vita Restaurant, formerly Mood Lounge)
  • 1301 K St, NW (Capitale)

LICENSE MODIFICATION REQUEST

  • 1336 14th St, NW (Ghana Cafe)

NEW LICENSE REQUEST

  • 1333 14th St, NW Glass House Coffee

OPEN FORUM

 

NOTICE:  This agenda provided by ANC 2F in advance of its public meetings contains matters that are expected to come before the Committee.  It is, however, subject to formal adoption by the Committee at the meeting, which may result in additions or deletions to the draft. Individuals who may have official business before the Committee or persons with interests in specific matters are advised to contact the Executive Director or a Commissioner in advance of the meeting. See www.ANC2F.org for contact information.

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ANC 2F CDC Meeting Agenda for October 23, 2013

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 2F
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 7:00 PM
The Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle, NW
  • Approval of Meeting Agenda
  • Approval of August 28, 2103 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of September 25, 2013 Meeting Minutes

OLD BUSINESS

  • 1101 Rhode Island Ave, NW, BZA request for area variance and special exception

NEW BUSINESS

  • Discussion of visitor parking options for ANC 2F
  • Discussion of potential removal of WMATA bus stop on west side of 14th St, NW south of Rhode Island Avenue, NW

OPEN FORUM

NOTICE:  This agenda provided by ANC 2F in advance of its public meetings contains matters that are expected to come before the Committee.  It is, however, subject to formal adoption by the Committee at the meeting, which may result in additions or deletions to the draft. Individuals who may have official business before the Committee or persons with interests in specific matters are advised to contact the Executive Director or a Commissioner in advance of the meeting. See www.ANC2F.org for contact information.

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Oct. 19 Neighborhood Crime Awareness Meet & Greet

Community awareness about crime is one of several factors that can help reduce the crime rate in our neighborhood. Therefore, ANC 2F and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) are teaming up to host a Neighborhood Crime Awareness Meet-and-Greet outside Whole Foods this Saturday from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. to share information and tips to avoid becoming a crime victim.

Representatives from MPD and the ANC 2F Crime and Public Safety Committee will be on hand to answer the community’s questions about neighborhood crime. We’re fortunate that crime overall is falling in Logan Circle, and part of that success is due to our community being aware of simple precautions we can all take to prevent crime and avoid being a crime victim! With your help raising our community’s awareness, we can keep that trend going.

Stop by and learn how you can protect yourself and make our neighborhood safer this Saturday, take home some pamphlets, and get ANC 2F crime stats.

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ANC 2F Rodent and Sanitation Education, Training, and Awareness Summit

Dear ANC 2F Residents and Business Owners:

Our neighborhood is more vibrant than ever with population growth and many new businesses attracting visitors and tourists.  Logan Circle is a tremendous success story, but with progress comes new problems.  One that we’re increasingly hearing about is the rodent population.

To proactively and collaboratively address this issue, the ANC 2F Alcohol Policy Committee invites you to attend the Rodent & Sanitation Education, Training and Awareness Summit on Thursday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Washington Plaza Hotel.

Representatives from the DC Department of Health, Department of Public Works, and Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will make presentations, followed by a Q&A and action planning session.  The tentative agenda is below:

  1. DOH Public Service DVD – 8 min
  2. Community Hygiene Program Overview – DOH 15 min
  3. Trash Compactors – 5 min
  4. DPW SWEEP/Enforcement – 10 minutes
  5. ABRA Complaint Process – 5 minutes
  6. Q&A/Action Planning – 45 minutes

DCist, the Washington Post, and Newschannel 8 have already covered the Summit.  We hope that you or a representative will make it a priority to attend this event.  Partnering and planning as a community can help us improve results as we tackle this problem.

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Notice of DDOT Community Meeting re: K St, NW

NOTICE OF COMMUNITY MEETING

K Street, NW (12th Street to 21st Street)
ADA Improvement Project

Thursday, October 17, 2013
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

West End Neighborhood Library
1101 24th Street, NW (24th & L Street, NW)
Washington, DC 20037

The District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) plans to reconstruct the pedestrian ramps at the signalized intersections along K Street NW beginning at 12th Street, NW and ending at 21st Street, NW to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 2010 Guidelines. DDOT will be hosting a Community Meeting to:

Review upcoming construction activities and schedule;
Respond to community questions and concerns;
Provide project and public outreach contact information.

DDOT-OneCity

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